Session 59 – A Canal Day Of Two Halves And A Chub

I finally decided that Tuesday 28th October would be dedicated to a canal spinning/lure session prompted by the purchase of a few Shakespeare ‘Devils Own’ (16.5g) blade spinners a couple of days previously.


Shakespeare ‘Devil’s Own’ lures with a Shakespeare ‘Mini S’ plug.

So at 0830 I set off for my club’s stretch of the Shropshire Union Canal – good for perch, pike and chub. And I’ve heard that the roach fishing is good too but I’ve not been interested in roach or rudd at all – although I do think about targeting them from time to time these days… ummm, perhaps a float rod session one of the days?

I was travelling light with just the 9’ 10g-40g spinning rod with 12lb braid line, collapsible landing net and my shoulder bag with spinners and lures, flask, traces, etc so it didn’t take more than five minutes to be making my first casts after arrival at around 0915.

And so I ventured up the canal casting across to overhanging vegetation, bays and the usual ‘features’ as well as forward of me close to the banks on my side… and it wasn’t long that I lost my first spinner (the green/red/striped one) to a far bank bush! Thus a quick re-tackle was necessitated and this time the criss-crossed spinner was the weapon of choice….

A few more minutes of casting and retrieving followed as I worked my way along a length of overhanging far bank shrubbery and, then, a fish took virtually as soon as the lure hit the water and after a short battle a nice chub was in the net…. weighed in at 1.765Kg (3lb 14oz)… photoed… and returned…

2014-10-28 Steve 3lb 14oz Chub

Chub 3lb 14oz

And so the walk/cast/retrieve procedure continued for around another 100 yards along the bank – and then I snagged on the bottom and as I pulled and jerked to try to free the hooks there came a crack followed by a crunching sound and the top half of the rod folded over having cracked just above the joint between butt and top sections….

Bust Rod

Anyway, I did manage to free the spinner and so I got to keep that but it did mean a premature end to my session as I’d only the one rod with me and the only option was to return home.

The canal in general had a covering of leaves as one would expect at this time of the year but certainly not not many as to effect the fishing too much by collecting on the line, etc as they can do… and there were more boats active than I’d expected too … but I’ve since realised its school half term hence the rise in numbers… in the couple of hours I was there probably 6 or 7 boats passed. But their effect was minimal really as I was more interested in getting the spinners into the edges/bays/overhangs of the canal whilst the boats were middle channel and the dirtied waters did not intrude into my area too much… plus with the use of blade spinners they have two attractive qualities (visual with the flashing of the spinning blade, plus an aural aspect with the vibrating/vortexing of the blade creating sound patterns through the water) and so are effective in murkier waters than plugs/jellies which generally only have the visual quality… I say ‘generally’ as some plugs have internal rattles that supply an aural function too eg the Shakespeare Big/Midi/Mini S series.

AND… before the day was out… I managed to get an identical replacement rod from Go Outdoors (now re-tackled and all ready to go)… and bought another set of the 16.5g spinners, plus the same set in 7g size, plus the Mini S lure pictured.

Also my new fishing chair arrived yesterday and will be tested on Friday 🙂



Next outing is to Pike Pool 1 again on Friday. On my own though as Liz has a driving lesson or some other engagement.

Session 58 – A-Pikin’ We Did Go….

Saturday 25th October and Liz and I headed out to Pike Pool 1 in search of, errrr, pike would you believe.

Arriving at the pool at around 0800 I was disappointed that my peg was already taken but the two adjacent pegs were free – well, to be honest 22 of the 24 pegs on the pool were free but we wanted to be fishing in that particular area and so…. Anyway, Liz had the swim she was destined for originally but I was in the swim to her left rather than the one to the right.

Location sorted I baited up the area around our two swims with a ‘rubby dubby’ comprising of breadcrumb mixed with blitzed herring/mackerel/sprats and sardines which had originally been used as baits last season and frozen ready for the blitzing.

And then the tackle was set up – both Liz and I set up similar sets… 1 rod with a legered sardine or herring and the other rod set up for floatfishing and baited ‘Xmas Tree’ style with a number of sprats.

And thus we fished over the course of the next few hours until around 1445…

Result for me was a total lack of any sort of pike interest being shown – but Liz did have one take on the float fished rod but unfortunately she struck too early – float had started bobbing around but no line actually being taken – and I got the blame for not having told her about timing strikes previously – and I hold my hands up in confession…

So having packed up the bait rods we got our lure rods out for a wonder around for an hour or so… both fishing Savage Gear Soft 4Play lures (19cm/52g), mine being of an Olive Pearl pattern and Liz’s of a Fungus Roach one…

Olive Pearl

Olive Pearl

Fungus Roach

Fungus Roach





… but to no avail.



Time                                       Air                                          Water

1000                                        13.9                                           11.8
1115                                         13.0                                           11.9
1240                                        13.3                                           12.0
1445                                        14.3                                           11.9



ScreenHunter_14 Oct. 26 13.02


ScreenHunter_13 Oct. 26 13.01



Well I’m intending to hit the waterside again on Tuesday, conditions being suitable of course. But exactly when and where is a case of decision-to-be-made at the moment.


  • Back to Pike Pool 1
  • Other Pike Pools
  • A canal and….
    • Dropshotting/spinning
    • Bait fishing for silvers, etc
    • Lure fishing for pike/perch
    • Baitfishing for pike…


So… will decide tomorrow probably. Tackle is at least 95% ready for any of the options whatever 🙂

All Change For This Week’s Plans…

Yesterday, 21st, when I’d planned to go dropshotting on the canal was a day of rain and gales and so the trip out never took place… and today, although being gorgeous and being mooted as a possibility, is being declined as (a) I want to prep tackle for the weekend and (b) with the winds the canals are going to be full of fallen leaves which makes fishing tedious with them clogging the line and hook and needing to be cleared virtually every cast…

And, Friday, the second trip planned for the week has now been changed to Saturday – as I’ve remembered I’m due at the doctor’s surgery between 1230 and1330 for my annual flu jab… and Saturday is forecast a better day anyway :).

Yep, today I’m checking over Liz’s pike rods ready for the Saturday trip and looking for the spare reel spools of line … Liz’s reels  currently on the rods have 18lb mono fitted which is fine really but I’m sure there are spare spools of 40lb braid for them too somewhere. So storage box/shelves/cupboard searching is the order of the day.

Also had some 25mm poly balls arrive that I’m going to use to make pop-up balls – and already got some 20mm that arrived a week or so ago. So that’s another job for today – prepping those. I’ve bought glitter powder which I intend to coat the surface of the balls with – usually, the balls are painted drab/camo colours to hide them but I reckon a bright flashy finish may be better as it could work as an attractor. Anyway, as I say, today I’ll get the balls drilled and plastic tubing glued in the hole (to stop the attachment cord wearing and cutting), and then coated in a thin layer of glue, rolled in glitter and left to dry until tomorrow when I fit the attachment cords to them – simply braid passed through the tubing with small buttons fixed either side of the ball to act as retainers and with a 6” tail of braid left free into which a loop will be created at the end so that the pop-up can be attached to the end treble of the trace by a ‘lassoo’ around two of the points ensuring that the pop-up is always recovered.

Yesterday, I had 5 packs of 6”-7” smelt for bait delivered (£18 inc delivery) containing 17 fish which are now in the fridge… look forward to trying them on Saturday and hope the expense was worth it!! 😀

Oh – and if you’re interested in tackle/accessory purchases then a mate has passed me this link – cheaper than eBay in many cases – some very good deals:   (See ‘Sports and Outdoor’)…..

Session 57 – Piking Again…

Well, before I start on this session, a quick note to say that I’ve corrected a minor error in the posting for previous entry – “Session 56 – A Short Canal Session On Spinner And Lure”. Towards the end of the posting I say that I changed to a ‘13cm lure’ when, in fact, it was a 6.5cm lure… The correction has now been made…

So… on the morning of Friday, October 17th and I’m back at ‘Pike Pool 1’, arriving on the car park at 0720, albeit heading to a different swim to my last visit, it being in a nice pikey looking corner lined with reeds and overhanging trees with a depth of 11’ about 15 yards out, rising to about 6’ at about 7 yards and 4’ at the bank. But, with hindsight, perhaps I should have returned to the original swim though….

I firstly set up the heftier of my spinning rods – rated for 30g-80g baits – and have a few casts over the area in front of me with my luminescent yellow Savage Gear Soft 4Play lure that I’d been using on the canal trip of my previous session – and realised the error re the lure size made in the posting detailing that trip J. Within a few casts being made I get a tug (well, I *think* it was a tug but may have been a snag on weed BUT something tells me it was a grab….)…. but despite spending another 15-20 minutes casting over and around the area nothing further occurs… so I consider changing the bait to a different pattern and/or size… and at this point I find out I have left all my larger soft Savage Gear lures plus their scull lip attachments at home! L So I was unable to change to another lure … well, so I thought …which shows my addiction to the Savage Gears – as in my bag is a LARGE box of plugs (of which a hard bodied 19cm Savage Gear lure is one and contains probably 30+ other lures up to 24cm)  and which pulled out of the bag in the search and didn’t even notice/consider until I got home and sat down that evening!

At that point I decided it was time to get the dead bait rods out anyway… and rigged them up as per the previous visit to the pool – one floatfished sprat ‘Xmas Tree’ and the other with a herring/sardine popped up, head-down, about 2” from the bottom. But, despite these rods being out in the water from 0845 until 1430, I had not one single touch throughout the rest of the day.

After packing up the dead bait rods I again had a good few casts around with the lure rod – and again, to no avail.

I would have had a rove around the banks with the lure rod as I normally do on these occasions but by that time there were quite a few (all carp/pole anglers as far as I could tell) spread around the banks and I didn’t want to disturb them with my lure casting. Around 10 cars on the car park, so at least 10 anglers out there a not too large 24 peg water. Strange really, as whenever I’ve been out previously – and in mid-summer when you’d think the ‘fair weathers’ would be out, and its not only this particular water – I’m usually the only person there and 2-3 others is as many as one would expect on a ‘busy’ day – but recently every visit has seen around 10 others out there too… As I say, on the pools and canals it’s the same – and not only my main club’s waters. Previous years, Liz and I have been out to the pools, arriving at around 1100, and lure fishing until 1400 and there’s been not another soul there so has been fine for wandering around – but this year it looks like there’ll not be much chance of that happening it the numbers stay the same… Mind you, no big frosts yet and iced over waters so may be things will return to normal when that happens…


Time                                       Air                                          Water

0845                                         14.6                                          12.2
0950                                         14.9                                         12.3
1100                                         16.4                                          12.5
1220                                          17.2                                         12.8
1340                                         18.8                                          13.1
1430                                         16.9                                          13.2

Next week… Tuesday trip to a canal planned… the options being (A) one canal with the bigger lures (13/19cm) for pike, (B) smaller lures/spinners/dropshots for perch/chub on another canal or (C) same canal as B but with bait (worm/maggot)…. And Friday, probably fishing with Liz – 90% that’ll I’ll be piking but Liz may do otherwise…

Session 56 – A Short Canal Session On The Spinner And Lure.

The morning of October 15th and I’m away at 0930 to the local stretch of the Staffs-Worcs Canal armed only with my Ron Thompson 8’ (10-30g) spinning rod and a few lures, sundries, scales, weigh net, camera, etc and a flask of coffee.

As I say the stretch is local and so I’m parked up and rod and net at the ready and on the bank within 15 minutes… and already 5 anglers are there, all fishing the pole and as usual in the 5 swims closest to their cars… and as I arrived back they were still there and so I sat opposite to them on a bench to see what they were catching… and turned out to be minnow sized silvers… and even smaller than my lures!! 😀

2014-10-15 Bratch Locks 01

And as you can see from the pic the rest of the canal was deserted until 50 yards away from the next car park where there were 3 more anglers.

Anyway, I fished along the stretch for about ½ mile with a silver/black with silver/red tinsel tail blade spinner having a few tugs along the way.

As you can see from the photo there were a lot of floating leaves around – and mainly willow ones as that seem to be the predominant bush type along this stretch. And I’m not particularly keen on willows at this time of the year. Summer and spring they are fine and productive due to the shade they provide but once the leaves start falling I try to stay clear as much as possible although I do try willowed places that ‘look’ appealing but to be honest never with much joy – and I think the reason for this is that as willow leaves contain aspirin naturally this leaches into the water as they decompose and sickens it – yes, aspirin is medicinal BUT an overdose is far from good… and with the amount of willow leaves then I reckon the dissolved aspirin is at quite a relatively high level especially in the vicinity of the willow bushes themselves. That’s my thoughts on it anyway….

Anyway, I’d almost reached my intended ‘U’ turn point to head back to the car when the spinner snagged some dead leaves again and as I pulled the spinner to me to clear it a ‘bit of stick’ slid down the line… although the ‘bit of stick’ then turned out to be the top 6” of my rod complete with tip ring…it had snapped directly at the 2nd ring down. However, as there was no protruding rod blank above the now top ring to cause problems with tangles I was able to take off the spinner and trace, remove the broken section and re-connect the spinner and use the shortened rod without problem. However, whilst doing so I replaced the blade spinner with a 13cm 6.5cm Savage Gear Soft 4Play lure in luminescent yellow (a few boats had passed and the water was now quite murky and so I was trying to make the lure as visible as possible).

As time had now slipped away a bit with the need to repair the set up I decide then to work my way back up the stretch with the new lure and back to the car.

Again, on the return journey I had a few nudges and grabs but nothing was hooked.

The rod may possibly be able to be repaired by splicing the two parts together – and with the break where it is I need to remove the 2nd ring to do it… which means that I may be able to replace that ring’s leg directly over the break and whip over to make a sort of ‘splint’. So may get away with it BUT it will take some time to do as I’ll need to source a fibreglass spill to act as a spigot between the two parts plus the time to do the job itself… but I’d most likely need the rod sooner than I could repair… so the only course of action was to get a new rod. So, on getting home, I picked up my Go Outdoors Discount card and my debit card and headed to Decathlon… HA HA HA!!! Gotcha there!! I said Go Outdoors Discount card so why would I go to Decathlon??? Pay attention!!! So off to Go Outdoors I go and head to the spinning rods… and I locate two potential new rods … one exactly identical to my broken one (make and model) and one of the same make but slightly beefier and longer being 9’ (instead of 8’) and rated for 10-40g (instead of 10-30g)… and as price for both was identical (£9.99) I chose the latter.

So I’m ready for canal action again soon 🙂

And so on to plans for later in the week…. Pool piking but destination undeclared!! 😀 😉

Session 55 – First Pike Session Of The Year

And so it was that on the 12th October that I headed out to ‘Pike Pool 1’ on my first serious pike session of the season – having had a short lure session on our arrival on the 6th at Lakeside Holiday Park, Burnham-on-Sea, in the on-site pool. But this session it was to be *REAL BUSINESS* with the big guns of my tackle brought into action.

Tackle used throughout the day consisted of:

  • My ‘heavy’ lure rod – 30g-80g rated – coupled with 30lb BS braid, 25lb wire trace with a 19cm Savage Gear Soft 4Play lure in an Olive Pearl pattern attached via the relevant scull lip…
  • My 70/80’s homemade (North Western 11’ 2.75lb TC blank) pike rod – fitted with 30lb braid – 25lb/Size 6 trebles snap tackle baited with a herring popped up around 3” from the bottom to look like a head-down feeding fish… I have a pair of these but only one was put into use.
  • My Ron Thompson Desperado Carp Rod (2.75lb TC, 12’) – fitted with 18lb mono, Fox Hi-Visibility Dart Medium (12gm), 25lb/Size 6 trebles snap tackle baited in ‘Christmas Tree’ style. Don’t know if I’ve devised this method but not seen or heard of it being used elsewhere but as with all things – ‘there’s nothing new in this world’… But what it consists of is simply that each of the hooks of the mid-wire trebles are fitted with their own sprat (ie 3 on the treble) – hooked as desired really (lip hooked, through the back, through the tail … however you desire) and similarly the bottom treble although I tend to only place on 2 sprats in order to keep one point free but 1, 2 or 3 again, its up to you… The idea being really to simulate a shoal of small fish. Anyway, I’ve two of these Desperado rods too (I like matched pairs!! :D) but only used the one on the day.

My homemade pike rods are permanently set up for legered bait fishing and the Desperado’s are set up for float fishing baits – and that’s the reason for the use of one of each as I legered one rod, floatfished the other.

OK – so on to the day….

I arrived at the pool around 0730 and set off around the banks to survey the area initially eventually selecting a good looking swim. A return to the car saw the barrow being loaded and so equipped a trip back to the swim.

I’d already decided on this initial outing to floatfish one rod with a ‘shoal’ and pop-up a larger bait on the other one – and as my rods are already pre-tackled it was just a matter of clipping on the required leads and float to the quick change links… but, as I’ve said before, I always set up my accessories (landing net, unhooking mat, scales, unhooking implements, camera, etc) and place where I’ll need them plus generally set up my ‘station’ so that baits, tackle and tranklements are easily accessible from the moment I make my first cast. Nothing worse than sorting out the end tackle and finding you need to search bags for things or having a fish on and no net set up. It delays the start of actual fishing but pays for itself in lack of stress and worry leaving you to enjoy a relaxing day without periods of panic…

Anyway, with the main rods made up, I then set up the lure rod… to be used as an ‘catching tool’ but also as an attractor used the area of the static/dead baits. Obviously, as I have only one EA licence, when using the lure rod, I had to remove one bait rod from the water for the duration of its use. But not a major issue…

So, ready to start fishing on this very misty morning, I initially made several casts around the area with the lure searching out the pikey areas in case anything was cruising in search of a bit of breakfast but nothing seemed interested…

And so it was that both bait rods were cast out at around 0815 with the legered bait around 3-4 rod lengths out, and the float rod set at around 5’ deep just off the edge of an overhanging tree in 6’-7’ depth of water.

And all remained calm with no action although the mist start lifting at around 1100… until 1230, when a couple of minutes following a re-cast of the floatfished sprats at a re-set depth of around 3’ the float bobbed and weaved and dipped eliciting a strike – and, a few minutes later, a hard fighting pike of 7lb 0oz was duly landed, weighed, photo’d and released.

2014-10-12 Steve 7lb 0oz Pike 01

7lb 0oz Pike

And so the situation remained until around 1515 when I decided to pack up the bait rods and head, on the way back to the car, to a very pikey (in the way of Mr Crabtree pikey – ie you KNOW there’s a pike there just by looking at it) looking corner with the lure rod….

And so, arriving at this corner, a few casts were made, each one further along the ‘far’ bank from the fishing position, and on about the 7th or 8th cast the water swirled just behind the lure’s position as a fish missed the grab… The adrenaline levels and expectations now increased, re-casts were made to and over that area again and again and then came another swirl, the line tightened and a pull felt … and then all went slack again as the hooks failed to grip… and despite continuing on for another 30 minutes and a change of lure pattern not another response was elicited and it was time to head home…

So, a promising start to the season – already caught one more fish than the ENTIRE last pike season when I blanked from October to March, not one pike taken and the best result had been one ‘follow’ to a lure. However, last year was so mild that I switched back to tench fishing mid-October and was still catching those at the end of November… and didn’t properly settle down to piking until the January – but the 14 or more pike trips made between then and the end of March was a lot of blanks to suffer!


Time                                       Air                                          Water

0830                                          7.1                                             12.0
0930                                          6.5                                             12.0
1030                                          9.2                                             12.1
1200                                        10.7                                            12.1
1245                                         12.9                                            12.2
1330                                        12.8                                             12.5
1430                                        12.8                                             12.5
1545                                         12.8                                            12.5


Well, I was planning to go out on the canal with the light spinning rod and blade spinners in search of perch and chub (and possible pike although they are few on our local canal) tomorrow (Tues 14th) but the weather is forecast to be not to good especially for a roving style of fishing without cover … but Wed 15th seems to be a better day so hoping to go out then…

And on Friday 17th I’ll be back taking on the pike with the heavy gear – but not sure if to return to Pike Pool 1 or go and try Pike Pool 2….. or maybe even Pike Pool 3…. 🙂

Sessions 53 & 54 – Lakeside Holiday Village, Burnham-on-Sea

A short mention of a couple of short sessions I had whilst on holiday at the Lakeside Holiday Park in Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, in the last week.

We stayed at this holiday park around this time last year and enjoyed it so much that we returned this year – and at £38 (on the Sun newspaper’s £9.50 holidays for Liz and myself – as you have to pay for a minimum party of 4 even if there’s only two) it’s great value! This year we were there from Monday 6th October until Friday 10th. For us, one great attraction of the place is the resident’s only fishing lake/pool…


… but the camp itself is excellent – clean, quiet, and with great entertainment.

Anyway, as we did last year we arrived early (around 1300) although you cannot get access to your caravan until around 1530 so that we could book in, register our Environment Agency rod licences (as you must here) and have a few hours lure fishing before collecting the keys and settling in to the van. I fished for a couple of hours but Liz only managed an hour or so before heading to sit in the car with a book. There were a couple of others fishing with float, etc and the one guy was catching a few small 2oz-3oz’ers and so I had to fish around them and try to keep clear and not disturb them. However, I don’t think it made any difference although Liz and I did not have one tug between us.

And early Tuesday morning (7th) I headed out with the leger rods, and laid down a carpet of crumb, maggot, and particles in front of me where the depth dropped from 7’ to 8’ (and the depth sounder also indicated fish around) and fished worm and bread over the carpet. Frequent catapults of maggots were added whilst fishing too. However, by the time I packed in at 1130, I’d only had a few small tugs and no fish had been landed.

A planned full day’s fishing for Liz and myself on the Wednesday was dropped when (a) the weather forecast indicated bad weather and (b) we were unable to extend our stay to the Monday of the following week due to costs involved and the fact we’d have to move caravans which would have been a hassle… last year we managed to get an extension far cheaper and kept the caravan we already had… and so spent the few remaining days doing some sightseeing instead.

Anyway, a silver lining to the non-extended stay cloud is that I’ll now be able to go pike fishing here on Sunday now :).

Air Temp: approx 14C       Water Temp:   14.4C